Buddy Roemer, former US representative and Louisiana governor, dies at 77

Buddy Roemer, former US representative and Louisiana governor, dies at 77

Buddy Roemer, former U.S. representative and governor of Louisiana, died on Monday at the age of 77. 

Roemer was ill for months and died at his home in Baton Rouge, according to The Advocate. Roemer, who was a Type 1 diabetic, suffered a stroke in 2014 that left him with a speech impediment and a halting gait.

Born in 1943, Roemer graduated as president and valedictorian of his high school class and attended Harvard University, where he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in government and economics in 1964, according to the National Governor Association.

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Nearly a decade later, Roemer was elected as a delegate to the Louisiana Constitutional Convention in 1972 and eight years later was elected to Congress. 

During his time as representative of his state, Roemer served on multiple committees including the House Banking Committee. He created and co-chaired his own committee, the House Grace Caucus, a bipartisan group recommending cost-saving measures for the federal government, according to the National Governors Association. 

During his term as Louisiana governor, Roemer increased teachers salaries, enforced environmental laws and toughened laws on campaign finance.

Roemer switched parties from Democratic to Republican but failed to gain support from the state’s GOP as he lost his bid for reelection in 1991. 

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) shared a tribute to Roemer on his Twitter page. 

“From the fields of Scopena to the halls of Congress and then the Governor’s Mansion, Buddy Roemer proudly represented the state he so dearly loved. His intellect led him to enter Harvard at the age of 16, but he still returned to Louisiana, driven by a desire to serve,” Bel Edwards said in his statement.